by Douglas Hufnagel
The Aereo decision could affect a much larger number people than previously realized. One potential cost of a broadcaster/NFL/MLB victory over the Aereo company is that the local broadcasters could securely charge more for their services in retransmission fees through cable and satellite. A victory could easily make these companies feel more secure about their position, leading them to raise fees and thus raise pay TV prices even further throughout the nation, according to a recent USA Today article by Mike Snider.
The effects of the Aereo case would be staggering in any case, as it would essentially outlaw any attempts by anybody to circumvent the newer way of doing things: watching TV on your television or having to wait until it appears on Netflix or Amazon Prime. People who want television on their computers would have to set it up by themselves (not an easy task for those who have little to no technical aptitude) or stream it after paying for cable as well, on a service like Xfinity.
Either way, you have more choice than you did a decade ago, but as a law professor once said, “An argument that a new venture poses a threat to your lucrative business is not a legal argument”. And that is basically what this comes down to. Can broadcasters legally force us to do things there way? Do they have that much clout? Normally I would say yes, however dirty that makes me feel, but the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of law and often rules unpredictably, so we’ll have to wait and see.
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